CHICAGO, IL (August 30, 2011) – Covenant World Relief (CWR) partners will benefit from the 2011 Walk for Economic Empowerment sponsored by Covenant World Relief in cooperation with other international development organizations. The walk will be held at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton, Illinois, on October 1.
Covenanters from around the country can sponsor walkers. One hundred percent of the funds will be used for ministry through Fuentes Libres, which provides microfinance loans to marginalized families in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the Hindustani Covenant Church, the Evangelical Covenant Church in India, which has partnered on multiple microfinance development projects with Covenant World Relief.
More than 40 percent of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day. Providing microfinance loans is one of the most efficient and effective means of empowering people living in poverty, says Dave Husby, CWR director. Access to business training and a small loan of $100 to $200 can enable poor individuals to start a new business or grow an existing one.
Fuentes Libres creates small communities of 12-20 women that are self-sufficient with a solid, self-replenishing financial pool from which the group can continue lending. These women are often unable to receive funding from other local banks or cannot afford the interest payments.
Neela, who is part of an economic self-help group through CWR and the Hindustani Church, is one of the many people who have benefited from the partnerships. The various components of the project include day care for pre-school age children, education, micro finance, vocational training, medical care, and women’s and men’s self-help groups (SHGs).
Each member of the SHGs has their own personal savings passbook and each saves between 40 to 60 cents per month. Most have been saving for three years. When asked how her life has been affected by participation in the self-help group, Neela said, “I now have enough funds for the happy and sad times,” meaning she had sufficient funds to cover celebrations like weddings and funerals.
Ashika, another woman in the community said, “Before I had no say in family matters, but now my husband respects me more and I participate with him in decision making.” Because of the savings, women have been able to access loans that have helped them start businesses such as making flower ornaments, making baskets, and selling vegetables.
Registration for the event will be 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., at which time the walk will begin. Lunch will be served at 11:30. Individuals can register to walk or run for Covenant World Relief by clicking here.